San Francisco, California

San Francisco, on the West Coast of the USA, is the 4th biggest city of California behind Los Angeles, San Diego, and San José.

The city, counting 744230 inhabitants, is on the peninsula which separates the Pacific Ocean from the Bay of San Francisco. The agglomeration of San Francisco consists of the cities of San José, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, all around the Bay of San Francisco. With more than 7 million people it’s the 5th biggest agglomeration in the United States, only New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C.-Baltimore are bigger.

Typical about San Francisco are its hills.  The city is built on not less than 43 hills.  The most famous symbols of the city are the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Transamerica Pyramid and the cable cars. Also the gay neighbourhood Castro is known worldwide.

Things to see

  • Golden Gate Bridge: A big hanging bridge connecting the peninsula with the North.  The bridge is high enough so the big ships can pass under it to reach the harbour of San Francisco.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Union Square
  • Alamo Square: known for its famous “Painted Ladies”.
  • Chinatown: San Francisco has the 2nd biggest Chinatown of North America. These days the richly decorated district counts as one of the major attractions of the city.
  • The sinistre prison on the island Alcatraz: Alcatraz used to be a severely secured prison on the island before the coast of San Francisco where the biggest criminals were locked down and where, as people say, no one ever escaped alive. Three prisoners managed to escape, but it’s unknown if they could reach land alive.  The authorities say they drowned.  They never found evidence for that.  After that happened they closed the prison.  The movie Escape from Alcatraz tells about this escape.  The island is now a frequently visited museum.  One of the most famous prisoners on the island was Al Capone.
  • Ferry Building
  • City hall of San Francisco
  • Coit Tower
  • Transamerica Pyramid
  • The more than 1500 sea lions on Pier 39: These animals lied on floating pontoons in the harbour and got there after an earthquake.  At other spots along the California Coast you can see sea lions, but these are relatively shy.  The end of November 2009 they suddenly disappeared, but now they are back again.

Museums

  • Exploratorium: a museum with a science theme, established in the Palace of Fine Arts, a building from 1915, which was build for an international exposition.  It’s styled like an old Roman dome.
  • California Academy of Sciences: In the Golden Gate Park. This is a museum and scientific research institute with an international reputation, where you can find aquariums, natural history collections and a planetarium.
  • Museum for Asian art: In the civic center, in a building taken into use in 1966.  The museum shows about 15000 objects from Asia.  The biggest part of the collection is donated by Avery Brundage, who died in 1975. In 1989 a section with Korean art was added to the collection.  Since March 2003, after a big renovation under guidance of the Italian architect Gae Aulenti, the museum shows its collection in a new environment.
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: consists of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor – and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

(source: wikipedia)

You can find more pictures here.

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